Chiapas: communiqué of Las Abejas in observation of the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre

January 26, 2011

On 22 January 2011, in observation of the monthly commemoration of the 1997 Acteal massacre, the civil society Las Abejas released a new communiqué in which they denounce the impunity and violence that prevail not only in the municipality of Chenalhó but also in the entire country.  They asserted that “despite everything we will continue to struggle against injustice and impunity.  The intellectual authors of the Acteal massacre cannot live with their consciences.  Those who govern are also responsible for the crime of state committed in Acteal, not only by means of omission through their leaving the massacre’s intellectual authors free, but also by means of their complicity with the release of paramilitaries. Following this crime of state they have passed on to commit many others, as is seen in the violence that has gripped our country.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Communiqué of Las Abejas in full (22 January 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Thirteenth Anniversary of the Acteal Massacre (27 December 2010)

Chiapas: Las Abejas and the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights celebrate the admission of Acteal case in the IACHR (26 November 2010)

Guerrero: briefs – Support is requested in Radio Ñomndaa case; SCJN assumes responsability in the case of Rosendo Radilla; 4 months of disappearance for activist Victor Ayala

January 24, 2011

On Januray 12, the Guerrero Network of Civil Society Human Rights Organizations (Red Guerrerense) expressed support for Genaro Cruz Apóstal, Silvero Matías Domínguez and David Valtierra Arango, members of the Xochistlahuaca autonomous radio project, Radio Ñomndaa, against whom legal proceedings continue. Despite having presented sufficient evidence of their innocence, the men were sentenced to 3 years and 2 months in prison and are being forced to pay a fine of 753-thousand pesos on charges of illegal deprivation of liberty against Narisco García Valtierra. A communique from January 5 demands that the High Court of Justice for the state of Guerrero carry out an independent an impartial review of the appeal, to restore justice and pay compensation for damages and injuries to Silverio Matías Domínguez, who lost his sight after being beaten. Judgement on this specific case is expected to be delivered this week.

Additionally, the Mexican Commission for the Defense of Human Rights (CMDPDH) considered it important that the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) has assumed responsibility in the case of Rosendo Radilla so the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) will deliver copies of the preliminary investigation of the case. According to the CMDPDH, this decision will open the way for justice and abides by the decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH) of November 23, 2009. Rosendo Radilla was disappeared in 1974 at a military checkpoint in Atoyac, Guerrero. To date, his whereabouts are unknown. The sentence of the CIDH established the responsibility of the Mexican state in his disappearance.

Also, on January 14, the Commission Against Torture and Impunity (CCTI), released a bulletin 4 months after the forced disappearance of activist Victor Tapia Ayala, leader of the Hermanegildo Galeana Freedom Front. The communique states that: “[…] so far, his whereabouts are unknown; the authorities do not report the progress of the investigation and his family, friends and colleagues continue carrying pain and rage in their pursuit of justice. Since he was alive when he was taken, we want him back alive”. Also expressing “we reaffirm our demand that the authorities conduct a thorough, independent, impartial and exhaustive investigation” of the case.

For more information:

Entrevista en la KPFK a David Valtierra Arango, The Committee of Radio Ñomndaa in Guerrero about the campaign “Justicia a la Palabra” (January 13)

Llama la Red a apoyar a tres integrantes de radio Ñomndaa ante el próximo fallo del Tribunal (El Sur de Acapulco, January 13)

Campaña “Justicia a la Palabra del agua” (January 13)

Ficha Radio Nomndaa – Actualización – final 2010 (Tlachinollan, end of 2010)

Atrae la SCJN amparo contra decisión de PGR de no entregar copia de averiguación (La Jornada, January 13)

Positivo, que la Corte atraiga demanda de los familiares de Rosendo Radilla(La Jornada, January 14)

A cuatro meses de la desaparición de Victor Tapia Ayala, exigimos su presentación con vida (January 14)

More information from SIPAZ:

México: Controvertida, la iniciativa de Calderón para reformar el fuero militar (October 22)

Guerrero: breves – ONGs presentan escrito a Corte Interamericana sobre caso de ambientalistas; Activista detenido (September22)

Guerrero: breves – Simpatizantes de La Parota se manifestaron frente al TUA; Académicos entregaron al TUA una carta en contra de La Parota; Aniversario de Radio Ñomndaa se celebrará a pesar de la persecución (December 15)

Oaxaca: Acts of intimidation against human-rights organizations by the military

January 24, 2011

According to public declarations, on 11 January 2011 at approximately 6:45pm more than 20 soldiers from the Mexican Army entered the building occupied by the human-rights organizations Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the People (CODEP), the Committee for the Defense of the Rights of Women (CODEM), and the Regional Indigenous Center of Human Rights (CRIDH) in the city 0f Oaxaca de Juárez.  In accordance with the same information, soldiers entered the residence using excessive force, destroying and tossing aside the entrance-door, without showing a search warrant; they were reported to have pointed their arms at those they found at the site, interrogating them regarding organized crime and narcotrafficking.  It was denounced that at no moment was a search-warrant or identification shown; this aggression was found to be a “strategy of State terrorism that follows from Plan Colombia that the federal government, prior ones as well as the present one, have undertaken with the objective of destroying several organizations.”

In an Urgent Action, the Observatory for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders, which is associated with the Global Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation on Human Rights (FIDH), “manifests its considerable concern for the use of violence on the part of the armed forces against human-rights defenders with the excuse of combating organzied crime,” and it requested “that the competent authorities carry out a complete, independent, exhaustive, and impartial investigation regarding the aforementioned acts, with the end of identifying those responsible, taking them to a competent, independent, just, and impartial tribunal, and applying against them the sanctions called for by law.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Urgent Action of the FIDH/OMCT, 18 January 2011

CODEP claims Army violation in Oaxaca (El Universal, 13 January 2011)

Denunciation of the Mexican Army (Public communiqué of CODEP, CODEM y CRIDH, 12 January 2011)

Mexico: Historic record of number of feminicides in 2010

January 18, 2011

On 6 January, the organization Justice for Our Daughters released a bulletin regarding the high number of feminicides experienced in the state of Chihuahua in 2010.  The bulletin discussed the “historic record” of 446 feminicides in said state, noting that a woman was killed every 20 hours last year.  “2010 has been the most violent year for the women of Chihuahua,” declared Norma Ledezma, coordinator of Justice for Our Daughters.  The municipality of Ciudad Juárez continues to suffer the highest levels of violence: 306 of the 446 feminicides that were committed originated from this city, thus representing 69% of the total.  The organization demands justice for each case of intentional homicide committed against the women of the state of Chihuahua.  Julia Monárrez Fragosa, sociologist and investigator at the School of the Northern Border, declared in an interview with that “feminicide is practically a pandemic in Ciudad Juárez but also in other parts of Mexico, such as Oaxaca, the state of Mexico, and Central America.”  The magazine Contralinea indicates that the concept of “feminicide” is absent from Mexican law.  “Specialists recognize that the term is only just now becoming a political category, product of feminist theory, that different organizations have employed to denounce the murders against women inspired by a ‘discriminatory and misogynist’ culture,” claims the article regarding the rise in feminicides from said magazine.

In other news, with 20 votes in favor, 11 against, and 2 abstentions, the National System to Prevent, Attend, Sanction, and Eradicate Violence against Women (SNPASEVM) refused to declare an alert regarding gender violence in the state of Mexico regarding cases of feminicide.  The Citizens’ Observatory of the Rights of Women, in a communiqué from 12 January, declare that “this determination was realized while ignoring all the international agreements on the human rights of women and the conventions that Mexico has signed regarding this question […].” The request to publish a gender alert was made by the Citizens’ National Observatory on Feminicide and the Mexican Commission on Defense and Promotion of Women’s Human Rights.  The petition contains data from the Attorney General’s Office in the state of Mexico which report 4773 denunciations of rape during a period of one and a half years as well as 922 intentional homicides against women committed between January 2005 and August 2010.  Additionally the data show a high percentage of impunity in the cases of feminicide.

In light of the negative response made by SNPASEVM, human-rights organizations declared that they would launch an appeal.  In a press-conference, Maria de la Luz Estrada Mendoza, executive coordinator of the Citizens’ National Observatory on Feminicide, denounced that the system of prevention has trivialized feminicide in the state of Mexico, which according to the Citizens’ Observatory and the Mexican Commission of Defense and Promotion of Human Rights have risen to 922 between 2005 and 2010.  She rejected the idea that the petition regarding gender-alert is meant to impugn governor Peña Nieto. “We do this because the state of Mexico represents a red alert regarding feminicide in the country,” she said.  According to NGOs, Chihuahua and the state of Mexico are the regions in which most feminicides take place.  In the same press-conference, specialists Lourdes Enríquez, fromt he Coordination of Sexual and Reproductive Rights from the University Program of Gender Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte, former prosecutor of crimes against women from the Federal Attorney General’s Office, lamented the lack of implementation of national and international norms to eradicate violence against women in the case when the Inter-American Court on Human Rights sentenced Mexico with regard to the case of Campo Algodonero in Ciudad Juárez and in that of the two indigenous women sexually abused by soldiers in Guerrero.  For his part, Enrique Peña Nieto assured that the state of Mexico is not the entity in which is registered the highest number of feminicides in the country, so that, as he said, there are no grounds to declare a gender alert, as demanded by civil organizations.

For more information (in Spanish):

Gender alert is denied for feminicides in the state of México (Observatorio Ciudadano de los Derechos de las Mujeres, 12 January)

Historic record of 446 feminicides in the state of Chihuahua (press-bulletin from Justice for Our Daughters) (6 January)

Feminicide on the rise in Mexico (Contralinea, 4 April 2010)

Ciudad Juárez is a modern necropolis (22 December 2010)

NGOs will launch appeal in light of refusal to declare gender alert (La Jornada, 14 January)

Peña Nieto scorns suggestion to release alert against feminicide; political interests in shadows (La Jornada, 14 January)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero – briefs – Tierra Caliente is second-highest national location in number of feminicides; SCJN will analyze recommendations of the Inter-American Court in the case of Radilla (14 September 2010)

Chiapas: ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón distance themselves from land-appropriation

January 18, 2011

Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón (municipality of Chilón), adherents to the Other Campaign, distanced themselves from the violent occupation of the El Vergel ranch which occurred on 31 December in the neighboring municipality of Sitalá.  They found Carmen Aguilar Gómez and his son to be responsible for the acts, saying they “at times present themselves as adherents to the Other Campaign, an organizational process from which they were expelled in April 2010 for ‘various crimes.'”  They also denounced that “the same public servants are also involved in this looting.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Public denunciation of ejidatarios, members of the Other Campaign of San Sebastián Bachajón (12 January 2011)

Bachajón ejido distances itself from invasion (La Jornada, 14 January 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatarios of Bachajón denounce governmental strategy and escalation of aggression by Opddic (25 November 2010)

Chiapas: Adherents to the Other Campaign from San Sebastián Bachajón denounce torture and illegal detention of ejidatario (8 November 2010)

Chiapas: Creation of State Council on Human Rights

January 18, 2011

At the beginning of 2011 began the work of the State Council on Human Rights in Chiapas, which is comprised of five advisers.  Since the previous year, Juan Sabines Guerrero, governor of the state, had proposed that the state congress replace the State Commission on Human Rights with the State Council on Human Rights, which would function as a public autonomous organization with juridical presence and proper power.

The council will hear cases of human-rights violations that have to do with acts or omissions of administrative nature that originate from whichever authority or public servant, municipal or state, with the exception of those from the state judiciary.  The council will also have commissions for the protection of human rights as regards migrants, respect for the culture, customs, and traditions of indigenous communities, and gender equality, and will have the capacity to initiate laws regarding human rights before the state congress.

A  new aspect of this all is that the naming of the council must pass through a process of popular consultation as regulated by the Institute of Elections and Citizen Participation, with the goal of having proposals be made by the state congress, universities, NGOs, authorities of use and custom, and the citizenry in general.

Since 6 January 2011 Lorenzo López Méndez took the position of presidency; Pedro Raúl López Hernández in the Commission of Attention to the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Jesús Ernesto Molina Ramos in the Commission of General Affairs of Human Rights; Mauricio Mendoza Castañeda in the Commission of Attention to the Rights of Migrants; and Marina Patricia Jiménez Ramírez in the Commission of Attention to Rights related to Gender Equality.

Critical voices were heard from Miguel Angel de los Santos, lawyer and professor in the law department of the National Autonomous University of Chiapas (UNACH), published a letter which denounced “the total disregard that has been shown for the law annuls the institution’s moral authority to endorse the law when rights are violated,” thus stressing that the establishment of the new institution did not follow several criteria defined by the state constitution of Chiapas, as in the following:

“I. To be a Chiapan citizen by birth, in full enjoyment of civil and political rights.

III. Have experience in human rights or activities recognized by Mexican law and international law.

VI. Have studied law with a minimum of 5 years of professional experience.

VII. Not to have occupied a charge in municipal, state, or federal public administration at least six months before the moment of designation.  Not to have been subject of responsibility derived by recommendation emitted by whichever public organization of human rights as a consequence of the charges taken up as a public servant.'”

Noted: “It is lamentable that an organization by nature questionable for its inefficiency be reborn weak and illegitimate.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Human rights council of Chiapas underway (El Universal, 6 January 2011)

CEDH begins work as organization to protect human rights (Chiapas Hoy, 7 January 2011)

Recently created State Council on Human Rights begins work in Chiapas (La Jornada, 8 January 2011)

Chiapas: establishment of State Council on Human Rights is questioned (Revista Proceso, 13 January 2011)

Oaxaca: Possible conflict regarding wind-energy projects in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec

January 18, 2011

The erection of new wind-energy plants in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec could cause more conflicts in the region, Oaxacan activists and academics have warned.  According to information made available by journalists, this year is planned the construction of six wind-energy parks and additional ones in the coming years.  The goal is to have 18 such parks functioning by 2014.  The parks are to be managed by Spanish and French firms that would sell the produced energy to the parastatal Federal Commission of Electricity.

Carlos Beas Torres, fromt he Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, has emphasized the  “right of peoples to be consulted,” given that the planned projects would affect the lands they hold.  He mentioned Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), ratified by the Mexican State, which grants indigenous peoples the right to be listened to and consulted regarding projects that affect them.  Víctor Leonel Juan Martínez, from the Autonomous University Benito Juárez de Oaxaca, pronounced himself similarly in recommending that the state government of Gabino Cué Monteagdo (Convergencia/PRD/PT/PAN) facilitate a reconciliation between investors and affected communities.  For his part, Óscar Cruz López, subsecretary of government, assured that the position of the new state government is to respect communities, while the coordinator of Strategic Projects of the state government warned that all the projects of mass-investment will be subjected to exhaustive analysis.

For more information (in Spanish):